Shaivya Arya: Striving for animal rights | Aga Khan Academies

Shaivya Arya: Striving for animal rights

During the 2017-18 academic year, 18 Academy students volunteered at the Blue Cross of Hyderabad as part of a CAS project for spreading awareness about improving the treatment and living conditions of animals. Among them was grade 12 student Shaivya Arya.  “It has been a source of motivation to help those who cannot help themselves,” she says, “to raise a voice for those who do not have their own.”


Animal welfare organisation Blue Cross of Hyderabad provides ceaseless support to animals in the city by improving their living conditions, and changing people’s mindset about animal rights. Academy students volunteer regularly at the Blue Cross as part of their CAS activities. Student volunteers walk and groom dogs, assist the shelter’s administration staff and run introductory sessions for new volunteers. Shaivya’s activities were centered around the dogs of the blind and disabled ward. She learnt about dealing with cases of dog bites and interpreting dog behaviour. During her time at the shelter, Shaivya also attended a session by Blue Cross of Hyderabad co-founder, Amala Akkineni.

In her time as volunteer, Shaivya found herself in situations beyond her ken but felt pleasantly rewarded when she worked through them. “Gradually, I learnt how to handle unfamiliar situations without anyone's assistance,” she says. “The work experience serves as a method to identify our strengths and weaknesses.” Shaivya says that working at the Blue Cross has improved her communication, organization and time management skills. 

Shaivya is passionate about animal rights advocacy. Before her stint at Blue Cross, she conducted surveys for her personal project, ‘Ethical Treatment Toward Animals,’ to better gauge the issue of animal abuse. “What we do not realise is that activities such as visiting the circus, the zoo or even purchasing a certain product can contribute to animal abuse,” she said. Shaivya went on to lead a successful fundraiser for the Blue Cross at the Academy’s parent teacher meeting in January 2018, raising ₹34,000. The money went toward vaccination programs for strays in the city.

Shaivya’s group members at Blue Cross constantly supported her. She credits them with helping her through tough situations and reflects on how they grew together. According to her, the team’s diversity directly impacted the work they did at the shelter. Dogs would run away from baths or refuse to be groomed and Shaivya notes that that could have been frustrating if it wasn’t for her friends alongside her.

“Each one of us has the power to make a change,” says Shaivya. “To save an innocent creature’s life, to help animals. It is time we make this a better world for us, for them, for all.”